Monday, March 1, 2010

Playin' in da Mud

Think back to your childhood.....the thought of warm mud in your hands as you created mud pie masterpieces.
It was something you were so proud of. Well, you can recreate those memories  and come home with an actual masterpiece! That's what I did this weekend. I played in the mud! I was one of 12 bloggers who were invited to "play in the mud" at Cahaba Clayworks-Earthborn Pottery studio in Leeds, Alabama.

The mud pie makers and blogger shakers in attendance were:

Rachel from Grasping for Objectivity and Alabama Bloggers,
Tammy from Greek GRITS,
Nanci from Birmingham Mom Online
Trina from XOXO, Trina 
Wenday (Mama Hen) from Long Days, Short Years,
Jamie from Jamie's Rabbits,
Rhoda from Southern Hospitality
Jill from Jill's Real Life ,
Cheri from Chez Cheri,
Jessica from Thoughts of a Bama Belle
Beth from Unskinny Boppy

I have to tell you, I was beside myself with excitment at the thought of :
#1. Spending a day with these ultracool  and creative blogger chics
#2 Having a "coming together" blogger event that included mud. I am not a girl who is afraid to get dirty.

And no, it didn't include wrestling of any kind.

Cahaba Clayworks is Alabama’s most exciting interactive clay facility, designed to bring out the artist in all of us! And our class was all about the creation of art. Yes. I said art. And no matter how "misformed" any one's pieces might have been, it was art. As Rachel of Alabama Blogger and GFO said at the event, "Clay is like a child, you have to allow it to become what it wants t be not what you want it to be."  I thought it very profound statement. And it sounded really good, when my "art" began to go astray on occassion, and sometimes leaned towards becoming an ashtray.  Fortunate for me, there were professionals in the building that kept that from happening.

Our class was lead by master potter, Tena Payne. Her creations can be found can be found in restaurants and places such as Hot and Hot Fish Club,  The Bellagio, The Beau Rivage, among others.

We also had a mini lesson on the wheel, taught by her business partner, and also a master potter, Larry Allen. Together they create an inspiring, creative and instructive environment for anyone interested in working with clay.
From the veteran potter to a novice/wanna be like me looking for an experince likened to Ghost you can find it here.

Ok. That was an exageration...... I have nothing on Demi Moore. And no, Patrick Swayze didn't contact me from beyond, as much as I tried to channel. But it was an awesome experience!

Tena shared with us the story of the Potter and the Clay while we were there. She spun and shaped the clay, molding it into beautiful forms and making certain it stayed centered. It was a very humbling experience to think of that story as we ourselves began to form the clay.

For our class, we used a wheel - the wheel has a bigger learning curve, so to ensure that we would actually be able to create something, Tena taught each of us how to hand-form as well.

We were asked to be thinking ahead about what we might like to make (cup, plate, mug, bowl, etc.), and also bring anything that we would like to use to create a texture on our piece. Examples are fabric, leaves, doilies, fossils - really anything with a texture is fair game for your design.

I ended up creating several pieces: 3 bowls (1 handthrown and 2 at the wheel) as well as a handthrown vase.

If you know me, and have visited Tales from Bloggeritaville for any length of time you might guess what I might use.
Well, you might be close. I used a hair pick to create a burlap effect on my vase.
Have I told you how I love burlap?
I have seen it done on paint treatments, using the pic and paint in a cross hatching process and it actually worked out well on the clay. When that was complete, I used a seashell to make an imprint of the place where I can always find peace....the beach.
There IS salt water in me veins, ya know?
"It's sooo you!" Trina said. Speaking of Trina, she chose a peacock feather for her vase, which was so her!

Our creations needed to be glazed and fired (which Tena will do for us), so we didn't take them home with us the sameday, but they will be available for us to pick up in a couple of weeks. I will be certain to share my completed pieces with you, no matter the final result. However, Tena did send each one of us home with a gift item of her pottery....

Booking info:
Parties: 2 hours long; $35 per person with a minimum of 6 people in the party.
What a great girl's night out!!! No matter what your potting skills, you will come home with some gorgeous treasures. The glazing process is a very forgiving process. Everything becomes a piece of art after it is fired.
Six Week Classes: Once a week,2 hour long classes for six weeks- $150. This includes unlimited studio practice time.

I cannot imagne that anyone would not want to create their own pottery and have that experience, but should you not...or perhaps your piece ends up "just an ashtray", then you can browse the gallery and purchase some gorgeous pottery from Tena, Larry and other featured professional artist.
We were given a tour of the facility and I was in awe of the talent under that roof.

I want to thank Cahaba Clayworks, in particular Tena and Larry, as well as Rachel of Alabama Blogger for putting this event together.
Thanks to Food Studio B, a fresh and organic local catering company. who provided catered lunch to all of the bloggers artisit. Our lunches consisted of a grilled chicken sandwich, chips, a pickle and 2 chocolate chip cookies. It was delicious!
And finally, my appreciation to all of the blogger ladies there. Some of I had met before, others for the first time, it was a delightful experience to share among friends. And that is what I consider this blog group. I am thrilled to be a part....and this includes you reading to! I am so appreciative. Bloggers are just the kindest and helpful group of people.


I do want to make mention that Tena, the Potter, just joined Twitter as @EarthbornStudio - I encourage you to follow her if you use Twitter! She will be featuring some of the studio's limited edition pieces at "thrifty" prices to her twitter followers each month. There will be limited pieces so to get in on that, you have to follow her at Twitter.
I "teased" that I would be hosting some giveaways and I will! They will begin this week, with a giveaway each week of the month. I will continue this on into the summer. If there are any businesses out there, or anyone wanting to advertise their business and be featured in the giveaways, be sure to email me for more information.
I will share later this week what I will be giving away for our first giveaway, so be sure to tune in so that you can enter. You will get an extra chance if you follow  Tales from Bloggeritaville or if you follow on TfB on facebook, for a total of 3 chances. Again, I will have more about that later this week.
Also later this week, I will be sharing a slideshow of all of the photos from our Clayworks experience.
Thankyou for stopping by Bloggeritaville. Have a wonderful week!


PS...My friend Alaina is hosting a PB giveaway over at her blog, Live Creating Yourself.


Bama Belle said...

I adore your write up of the day! I cannot wait to read everyone's versions. It was really fun and we certainly need to go back SOON!

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

Love this post! I've wanted to try this for years, but I've never found any place near me. Lucky you!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Great post....enjoyed stopping by...Have a great week

Maggie B said...

Hi Leigh,
Just checkin what my favourite blogs are talking about today and found your wonderful post!.
You know this Quimper Pottery fan would just love to get her own hands dirty this way. Wish I lived close enough to give it a try, it sounds like you all had a blast.

Allie and Pattie said...

that looks like a totally fun day! Lucky you!
xoxo Pattie

Cheri said...

You did a really good write up of our day in the "mud," I don't know that I can compare when I write mine. It sure was a fun time though.

Blondie's Journal said...

What a neat post. I love when bloggers get together and this sounds like so much fun. I haven't played with clay since high school!! I can't wait to see what you made! :-)


Jane said...

Hi Leigh!
It was fun reading your thoughts on the clay experience. Sounds like all of you had a wonderful time. Wish I could have been with you. I love working with clay!!!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the Spanish Bean Soup. And I hope you can find the ingredients. Now that so many groceries are carrying ethnic foods, it's much easier to find the "unusual" ingredients.

Have a super day!
Jane (Artfully Graced)

Linda said...

Oh that looks like such fun! I've never tried pottery before but what a blast you all had. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment. I love to visit you Leigh, you always have such fun things to say!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Great write-up, Leigh! What a fun time it was. I'll get mine up soon. Had a blast with everyone!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

How did I miss out on all of this fun?
I see where I rate with the birmingham bloggers~ mud on my face.

TOTEally Posh! said...

Thank you for stopping my blog! And thank you for the invitation to Thirfty Thursdays! I'll definitely join in on Thursday!

By the way, I looked around your blog and I absolutely LOVE your sheet music wreath and it looks like you found the perfect spot for it! Gorgeous!

Kim said...

This is on my To-Do list! Lucky gal...playin in da' mud! :o) Thanks for stopping by my blog....I love finding new bloggers that way!

Keetha Broyles said...

Looks like a fun day, but when do we get to see YOUR piece?

Anonymous said...

I had this in Art class in high school but we only did the handthrown -- Is the wheel easier or harder in your opinion? Just curious -- I did not like the handthrown myself felt it took muscles I did not have! : ) Will look forward to your blog with the finished pieces! Enjoyed this post!

Linda said...

Thanks soooo much for coming by and signing up to follow me...I will do the same:) Looks like all of you had an awesome time with the clay...can't wait to see what you made! I will come by on Thursday and join your PARTY!


Rachel said...

Great write-up! I had so much fun - I can't wait to do it again! I hope to have my post up tomorrow.

It was great to get to hang out with you again - hope to see you soon!

Trina said...

Great recap! I'll be posting mine this week, hopefully!

And yes the shell was definitely YOU :) So glad I finally got to meet you after all this time.

Hansonpatch said...

I loved to play in the mud as a little girl, and my brother would cry when I would try to get him to step in it :-) good memories. How fun, I wished I lived close enough to do that!

Dawn said...

Very cool! One of my grandfathers was a potter but he didn't let us in on the fun to much. I was just thinking yesterday I might like to take a pottery class. Alabama's a little far away though!

4thelove! said...

so neat! Wish I could have joined you!

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

Now that is my idea of a great day out spent with the girls! Looks like such fun. Wish we had a place like that around here. Thanks for telling us all about it. I enjoyed hearing all about it!

Kirby3131 said...

That looks like SO much fun!!! I can't wait to see you :)